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Grants:Project/BlackLunchTable/BLT 2018

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BLT 2018
summaryBlack Lunch Table (BLT) began as a collaboration between artists Jina Valentine and Heather Hart and intends to fill holes in the documentation of contemporary art history. In its 12 year existence, the BLT has taken a variety of forms relating to this iteration, the form of nomadic Wikipedia edit-a-thons. BLT’s aim is the production of discursive sites (at literal and metaphorical lunch tables), wherein cultural producers of color engage in critical dialogue on topics directly affecting our communities. They endeavor to create spaces, online and off, mirroring the activity and creativity present in sites where Blackness and Art are performed. We need support to continue our momentum and grow the project.
targetprimarily English
contact• heather(_AT_)blacklunchtable.com• jina(_AT_)blacklunchtable.com
organization• Black Lunch Table
this project needs...
created on18:25, 31 January 2018 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

The issue our ongoing The Black Lunch Table project focuses on is the lack of representation, authorship and power in our (art)historical records. It was last reported that 77% of Wikipedia editors are white and 91% are men.[1] The task list we have been developing includes over 1000 notable artists of the African diaspora who either have no Wikipedia page or their page is in need of improvement. Wikipedia needs more editors of color, women editors and more quality articles of notable artists of the African diaspora in order to reflect a more true and inclusive history. There is also often a lack of access to the training a new editor needs to feel comfortable enough to continue editing, as navigating Wikipedia platforms can be intimidating and training often centralized in academic areas and select urban areas, excluding those in more remote or less organized areas. Our small group is also not able to successfully do all the necessary work to keep in contact with new users, do the outreach and strategically plan our future given our resources and man power as it is.

What is your solution to this problem?


For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I can not accept.” - Dr. Angela Davis.[2]

Our nomadic project is our solution. It creates space for new editors that is focused on one-on-one attention in order to combat the intimidation that many new users face when navigating Wikipedia. We travel to spaces where editors are new to Wikipedia or new to our focus of marginalized communities on Wikipedia. By traveling these events, we reach people who would normally not have the interest, access or confidence to find Wikipedia editing training on their own. Our project creates a space to encourage people of color and women to join the Wikipedia movement while also asking white male editors to focus on gaps in coverage on Wikipedia. We also will continue to develop our listeria bot query use on Wikidata to automate these lists to be site-specific and track how the task list is related to our host sites,[3] creating a stronger connection for these disparate communities to the Wikipedia resource. In 2017 our project engaged 254 editors (averaging 50% new users), edited 670 articles, created 74 new articles and uploaded 115 items to Wikimedia commons. That is over nine times more editors and over fifty times more editing than our prior year. This all counters any racial bias on Wikipedia.

We need to encourage our project to continue its momentum. In order to do this we need to hire a Project Manager to grow our outreach and follow up, track our metrics, and help with data, bookkeeping and administrative duties. We would hire three Regional Proxies in different cities who will train in depth with us to grow the project and host regular edit-a-thons in their areas. We would compensate Lead co-Organizers who will oversee strategic planning of the project, train and oversee Project Managers and Regional Proxies and organize guest speakers. We would send representation from our group to Wikipedia conferences and meetings for training and networking. We would invest some funding in tools to make our organizing smoother like PR, Google and accounting. And we would of course continue to increase the frequency and expand the reach of our edit-a-thons, providing refreshments, prizes, speaker honoraria and childcare.

The Black Lunch Table project on Wikipedia will build upon an existing track record that has been established since 2015 (see BLT Event Archive) of WikiFacilitting editathons across North America, with a goal of global outreach starting with expansion into Africa and Europe in 2018. The Black Lunch Table has been instrumental in being the first Wikipedia Meetup project to have successfully incorporated Wikidata into its task list process, creating two types of task lists to facilitate improving content on the Wikimedia projects: A "BLT Master Task List" and event and "site-specific Wikidata Task List" (i.e., Black Lunch Table @ Brooklyn Museum: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985 – Wikidata task list). After notability is established, we use Wikidata to generate queries and cull task lists, as a scaffolding for improving and creating new Wikipedia pages. BLT has also incorporated Wikimedia Commons into its initiative, providing a photographer on-site at events to take pictures of BLT artists (see Portraits) which are then uploaded to the Commons on a centralized BLT category. The Black Lunch Table is the first initiative that has fully incorporated on En Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons. It has also consistently used the Outreach Dashboard since 2016 in capturing metrics (see: 2016, 2017, 2018). The BLT project also has a proven history of successful, responsible grant funding.

Project goals


What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  1. Increase the reach and develop the momentum of our nomadic project via proxies and project management, thereby increasing the presence of Wikipedia in those communities.
  2. Double our 2017 outcomes for the coming year.
  3. Afford more new editors one-on-one, access to training to help them get the editing bug, fostering return editors.

Project impact


How will you know if you have met your goals?


For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (i.e. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  1. We will have increased the reach of our nomadic project to three new cities via proxies therefore increasing a sustainable presence of Wikipedia in those communities.
  2. We will have doubled our outcomes from 2017: Host 40 edit-a-thons, create 148 new articles, engage 500 editors who improve the quality and quantity of articles on notable visual artists of the African diaspora.
  3. We will have given 250 new editors one-on-one, accessible training to help them get the editing bug, having 50 of them return to edit within the following three months.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?


Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable.

Yes. We will increase our total participants to 500, increase our new users to 250 and increase creation or editing of quality articles on Wikipedia, from 148 new articles and edited articles to 1200.

Project plan




Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

We will hire a Project Manager, Lead Organizers and Regional Proxies. We will increase our outreach processes and hone our data analysis and tracking. We will complete 40 editathons in this year. We will continue to coordinate via email and Wiki messaging with our editors, hold one work retreat for team members and maintain a Slack site for the team. The Project Manager will research alternative ways to maintain and grow returning editorship base.

Lead Organizers will:

  • Oversee Project Manager and Regional Proxies
  • Approves events, writing, lists, budgets
  • Curates guest speakers for special events
  • Develops strategic plan
  • Spearheads targeted sites

Project Manager will:

  • attend meetings with Wiki team and familiarize with roles
  • Manage shared calendar
  • Manages organization of files
  • Organizes mailchimp (with event rsvp list), invitations, follow up, communication, thank you notes
  • Compiles list of arts, civic and academic institutions and people we should contact there / exhibitions happening that might coincide with our project
  • Work with accountant to help maintain budget
  • works closely with Leads on all aspects of programming
  • Works closely with Regionals
  • Included in all correspondence with institutions
  • Maintains meetup pages
  • Maintains eventbrite
  • Maintains outreach dashboard
  • Pulls listeria queries
  • Creates site-specific book lists for editathons
  • Researches creates and queries site-specific task lists
  • Outreach to librarians and professors to invite classes
  • Research folks in the areas around institutions to compose direct invite lists
  • works with Leads to send out personal invites
  • Arrange for refreshments/food/caterers in areas around the host site
  • Arranges childcare for special events
  • Arranges guest speaker for special events

3 Regional Proxies will:

  • Train to run editathons
  • Learn our methods of outreach and site-specific research
  • Host three editathons in one year in their areas
  • Maintain metrics and outreach for their areas
  • Communicate with Project Manager for assistance



How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

Link to detailed table here.


  • Project Manager 27300
  • Lead Organizers 14560
  • Regional Proxies 7875


  • 501c3 Legal and Filing fees 4000
  • Accounting 1200

Technology Costs

  • reclaim hosting 60
  • google storage 60

Wiki Planning Meeting

  • Airtravel for team 2800
  • food 1440
  • lodging 4000

Event Marketing

  • E-flux announcement 618.75
  • Social Media Promotion 500

Event Costs

  • food 2500
  • Speaker-related fees/travel 1500
  • brochures/printed materials 400
  • Swag 1000
  • Childcare (at events) 600
  • Childcare (for planners) 600
  • Space rentals 1200

Total Budget Request: $72,093.75

Community engagement


How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project? Community input and participation helps make projects successful.

  • Social Media announcements: Facebook events, eventbrite, Twitter, Instagram and email newsletter
  • Social Media ad buys. (This has been effective for other Wiki initiatives)
  • PR by host institutions. Audience changes depending on the site, our project is nomadic.
  • EFlux ad Given that our scope is visual arts, this has been effective for others in our field and for art+feminism.
  • word of mouth: talking about what we are doing at conferences, lectures and other opportunities we have within each of our individual careers. Also email outreach, phone calls and drop by visits to potential participants in the local areas that host our events.
  • We continue to encourage participants to bring a friend
  • We continue to target people of color where art intersects with the African Diaspora as the organizers fit into this demographic ourselves.
  • we have spent many years working on the problems of representation and authorship in our own respective work. We are able to bring Wikipedia to our own communities because we empathize and we have developed our own platforms independently.
  • We will survey participants at the conclusion of our events.

"Vigilance and measurable accountability is required if you want to create lasting change." ~ Ijeoma Oluo[4]
By taking our project out to the potential editors we are able to witness the moment when historians, laymen and academics alike realize that Wikipedia is a useful, vetted, reliable resource. Our project helps people get to this realization. Our project decentralizes quality Wikipedia editing about visual artists of the African Diaspora, taking the movement to smaller communities, academia, and sites that would normally not host an editing event. Participants have a hand in directly authoring stories for future generations and in impacting a systems that may not have been built for them. In a year’s time we want to see more new editors of color return to edit.

Get involved




Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

The development of committed volunteers and team members is part of our goal this year. We have repeat advisors and contributors but our core team presently is:

  • Fishantena, Jina Valentine, who is an artist who works with representation and text, a professor at SAIC in Chicago, expert at the academic and visual art perspectives.
  • Heathart, Heather Hart, who is a public artist working with authorship and participatory works, expert at communities and visual art perspectives.
  • Blacklunchtable, Janelle, assists the project, detail oriented, great at communication and tracking budgets and metrics, artists assistant part time, a painter another part of the time.

Community notification


You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.--> Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?



Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • Important documentation of women artists of color. 06:13, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • As a black artist and as an educator, I feel that it is extremely important that more artists of the African Diaspora are represented in Contemporary Art History records. WONDERFUL PROJECT! Willart4food (talk) 12:43, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I've participated before and know the organizers. I admire their commitment to addressing the structural inequalities that pervade art historical scholarship (read: a very small number of scholars know enough about African American artists to write about them). This project is a noble effort to equalize the playing field of exposure - and existence - for many artists, living or deceased, whose legacies have laid silent for years. Tanitani05 (talk) 13:31, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support Wholehearted support to this great initiative. The Wikimedia projects need this type of consistent proven WikiFacilitating that fully incorporates so many areas of the sister projects. This initiative addresses diversity and gendergap on Wikipedia effectively and efficiently. They have proven to be a lean organization that is able to prioritize and follow through on their mission. The Black Lunch Table is also coming from within the Visual artists of the African Diaspora community to connect with and conduct outreach that has Wikipedia as one of its legs of its table (in addition to oral history, lunch tables, etc.). This type of outreach is not done elsewhere, and serves completely unheralded communities effectively. In this way the Black Lunch Table project is very unique and is of even more critical importance to Wikipedia. Wikimedia should fully support this great hard work. Disclosure: In the past I have assisted BLT on an ad hoc basis in facilitating their initiative. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:27, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • BLT is an incredibly necessary initiative that has proven to be effective in terms of content generation, outreach, and innovation. 16:30, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • It's a great project that highlights artists, writers, and activists that have been previously underrepresented. Ateplitzky (talk) 17:08, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • This project addresses a serious problem of representation on Wikipedia. I am a member of Art+Feminism, and we often work with Black Lunch Table at edit-a-thons aimed at ameliorating our overlapping issues. Black Lunch Table is efficient and effective and has my wholehearted support. Dilettante Army (talk) 17:49, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • BLT is doing important work and doing it well. This grants comes at a key moment. This support will help them both keep momentum and prevent burnout(!) Theredproject (talk) 20:28, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The work of BLT is so important and this grant would ensure its continued success. failed projects 21:46, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support BLT facilitates such important work, connecting working artists, educators and activists. The careful creation of knowledge online has gotten increasingly dire, thus BLT's efforts in combatting this have become even more needed. -Mozucat (talk) 21:56, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Black lives matter and when we know truth, we are more connected and understanding. Hartsmsmith (talk) 22:28, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Such an important project for combating bias on Wikipedia. Ohmyerica (talk) 23:56, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
  • As a former participant, a former colleague, and a friend I am also a supporter of this project. It combines in the best possible ways face-to-face communication with Wikipedia's assets in order to excavate and connect. 2600:1700:6B0:1420:8129:FF92:588E:ABDA 14:28, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia needs more editors of color, women editors and more quality articles of notable artists of the African diaspora in order to reflect a more true and inclusive history Jordegern (talk) 20:16, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • They are teaching people how to edit and use wikipedia and they are creating and editing women and women of color's pages which provides a wider range of representation. Feministkilljoy (talk) 20:17, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • BLT helped introduce me to editing on Wikipedia. They taught me technically and logistically how the editing process works, as well as explained the importance of having more woman and gender non-binary folks as editors. I think that a lot of users (new and old) could benefit from their organization Greensubmarine (talk) 20:18, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Because it supports space for new editors, in order to combat intimidation facing many Wikipedia users Carolefranceslung (talk) 20:24, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Black Lunch Table is doing great work! Jskarlin (talk) 21:32, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Black Lunch Table is doing such important work; we at Art+Feminism thoroughly endorse this application! - Siankevans (talk) 21:28, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
  • BLT's work is critical to developing a thriving community of editors representing marginalized communities of color. We need them. We need this project. Mckensiemack (talk) 21:44, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The Black Lunch Table puts emphasis on the importance of information on Black artists.Wikipedia is becoming a crucial part of research for so many and going into the future I think this project will solidify representation for African-American artists who are currently underrepresented. WilliamJacksonCharles (talk) 00:24, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I endorse this project because representation is important, as is recording the history of minority people. Black people in particular are typically forgotten, devalued, or erased from history, and art history is no exception. The Black Lunch Table empowers us to change that by teaching us to add and edit Wikipedia pages for artists of color. This is especially meaningful work for those of us who are women and/or of the African diaspora. Halimahart (talk) 01:30, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
  • This project supports a vision of civic action that actually puts change into effect. Coldwarconcrete (talk) 04:22, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support This proposal is excellent, BLT is so important. The PM costs for the labors of organizing and amplifying voices are too often invisible, glad to see this here to enable their work can continue. Shameran81 (talk) 21:15, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The Black Lunch Table is doing essential work to broaden representation of artists of color in the important database. Equity takes intention and they are bringing that to this space. Mollybgross25 (talk) 00:55, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I think the BLT is doing important work - I would love to see the project get bigger and be able to reach more people. I fully endorse. 13ab37 (talk) 10:19, 16 February 2018 (EST)
  • BLT has a really smart approach, they're doing good and important work, and the organizers have a strong track record. Let's support them to keep going! Siko (talk) 18:45, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Women/POC need to tell our own stories. Chapinhudson (talk) 17:36, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • An contemporary-artists-of-color focused project run by women???? I'm here for this! MidwayKaty (talk) 22:51, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I've used Black Lunch Table's lists of artists that need articles so often!

This project proposes a proactive plan to take a small bite out of the huge and monstrous cake baked with the ingredients of racial and gender imbalance when the majority of Wikipedia editors and Wikipedia articles are by and about white men.

Please fund this project Jscarboro (talk) 18:03, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

  • yes, should be wikipedian of the year Slowking4 (talk) 00:04, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Its about time. 02:37, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • These are the voices we need to hear and see on wikipedia! Liafriedman (talk) 15:23, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • This is a worthy project and the longevity, visibility, and activity of this group shows commitment from it's founders and community support from the many people who have participated in their events and used their valuable list. Sarahobender (talk) 16:58, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Black Lunch Table has been doing great work for a long time in a way that aligns with Wikimedia's goals. I endorse this project. Sodapopinski7 (talk) 02:25, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Such a great group of editors! Totally believe that is necessary to support their efforts. Elladeer (talk) 05:04, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Because Black Lunch Table has always been helpful to me as an editor Vizzylane (talk) 17:20, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Its important for artists who happen to be women to get the same attention as artists who happen to be men. 18:03, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Very vital and important group, BLT edit-a-thon was helpful to new editorsNudgol (talk) 05:52, 24 April 2018 (UTC)